Thursday, 20 June 2019

Fourth workshop on TLS in forest ecology

Congratulations to Kim Calders, Sruthi Moorthy, Hans Verbeeck and Miro Demol on organizing a fantastic workshop in Gent Belgium, focussed on the applications of TLS in forest ecology 6-7 May. The meeting attracted around 80 participants and consisted of a series of key-note presentations and open discussions chaired by a rapporteur

The meeting followed on from earlier workshops held in Salford and Tampere, and the Royal Society meeting in the UK in 2017. Gent provided a superb historic setting for the meeting and attracted many of the leading lights in forest TLS research from around the world

Historic Gent from the main canal 

Mark Danson presented a poster describing some results of the work with SALCA at Harvard Forest in 2017 and chaired the session "New opportunities with 3D data" which featured three excellent talks from Phil Wilkes (UCL, UK), Jennifer Adams (ESA) and Sean Levick (CSIRO, Australia).

Look out for a review paper analysing the key messages from the meeting in the near future. The fifth meeting will probably be in 2021.

Mark Danson and co-author Alan Strahler

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Spring in Boston

Mark Danson has just returned from a one month study visit to Boston, hosted by Professor Crystal Schaaf from University of Massachusetts Boston. During the visit Mark worked on SALCA data collected in the Harvard Forest field experiment in 2017, had research discussions with Dave Orwig and Audrey Barker-Plotkin at Harvard Forest, and attended the Harvard Forest 2019 Annual Forest Ecology Symposium "Celebrating 30 Years of the Harvard Forest LTER Program"

Thanks to Crystal for hosting the visit and for her great hospitality. Thanks also to the team and Peter Boucher, Arthur Elmes and Francesco Peri in particular for their interaction and support....and see you in Belgium for the TLS workshop in May!

Snowy Harvard Forest

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Spring is coming - let's get scanning

Yesterday Mark and Fadal were back at Silverdale in Lancashire, scanning three oak trees in leaf-off state. These trees feature in our recent paper "Spectral and spatial information from a novel dual-wavelength full-waveform terrestrial laser scanner for forest ecology" publish in Interface Focus and available here:
The leaf-on data were collected around 18 months ago and in the paper we compare spectral classification using the SALCA Normalised Difference Index (NDI) with spatial classification using Canupo in CloudCompare
The new data will allow us to explore further the application of SALCA for leaf and wood classification.

The three oaks in different health conditions

Scanning the 'moderate' condition oak tree

Monday, 19 February 2018

The terrestrial laser scanning revolution in forest out!

Our special issue of Interface Focus from the The Royal Society is now published! The issue "The terrestrial laser scanning revolution in forest ecology" features 11 papers from some of the world's leading experts on TLS. Read The Royal Society Blog here:

The contents page is here:

Mark, Lucy and Fadal have published the latest SALCA paper in the issue and it can be downloaded here:

Monday, 3 July 2017

Mark's Presentation at Royal Society meeting

Here is a video of Mark Danson's presentation of the Royal Society meeting held in February this year. Sound recordings of all the presentations are available at:


Friday, 10 March 2017

Royal approval for TLS research!

Last week saw 70 researchers from around the world attend a two-day meeting at the Royal Society’s country venue, Chicheley Hall, in Northamptonshire, to discuss “The Terrestrial Laser Scanning Revolution in Forest Ecology”. The meeting, organised by Mark Danson, was a Theo Murphy Scientific Meeting funded by The Royal Society and featured a star line-up of keynote presentations by researchers from around the world, with associated discussion and poster sessions. The speakers were drawn from the UK, US, Germany, Finland, Australia, China and Switzerland with other participants representing a further five countries.

Terrestrial laser scanners, or TLS for short, provide detailed three-dimensional measurements of forests, by firing millions of laser pulses up into the canopy.  The information recorded can then be used to monitor changes in forest structure and biomass with unprecedented accuracy. These measurements are set to revolutionize the way in which ecologists measure forests, and will help determine whether forests are acting as carbon sinks, absorbing excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, or carbon sources, adding to the greenhouse effect.
The meeting discussed the technology, applications and challenges of using TLS in forest ecology and showed how it is essential to improve the accuracy of measurements of the biomass of forests so as to better quantify the storage of carbon in such ecosystems. TLS devices can do this by ‘weighing trees with lasers’ based on three-dimensional reconstructions of complete forests. The dynamic nature of forest growth was another important theme with Professor Danson describing how a new TLS device, the Salford Advanced Laser Canopy Analyser, or SALCA for short, can be used to map the growth and fall of leaves in UK woodlands. Outputs from the meeting will include a special issue of the Royal Society’s in-house journal Interface Focus which will be edited by Professor Danson and his colleagues from the Universities of Newcastle, University College London

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

New video on SALCA research

This is an extract from the new University of Salford, Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre (EERC) video highlighting areas of research excellence. This extract features an interview with Mark Danson and Fadal Sasse in Peel Park on the University of Salford campus.

The full video can be viewed here: